September 11, 2017

Dear Ray School Families,
        Our 4th graders are participating in the "40 Book Challenge."  
Mrs. Hendrickson, Ms. Sexton, and Mr. Scribner challenge each of their students, over the course of the school year, to read 40 "just right" books from a wide range of genres.  This reading initiative, first introduced in The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller, is based on four core beliefs: Your reading life matters. Strong readers have lots of reading experiences. What you read is your choice. The right book for you is out there somewhere. Let’s find it!
        Here's the really powerful part.  All 2320 books (read by 58 students in 4th grade) fall outside of the defined curriculum.  These books aren't assigned by teachers, but chosen by children themselves.  These are books that somehow "speak" to kids, that capture hearts, minds and imaginations.  Do you remember, as a child, curling up in a chair or a corner or a treehouse and refusing to stop reading even for dinner because you didn't want to emerge from the world of your chosen book?  This is the insatiable kind of reading we're after.  
        And for those of you who appreciate data-driven decision making, evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better on reading assessments than those who don’t, they develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge, and a deeper understanding of other cultures.  In fact, pleasure reading is more likely to determine whether a child succeeds in school than his or her socio-economic status. 
        You don't have to be nine or ten years old to participate in the 40 Book Challenge.  The right book for you is out there somewhere too.  Join us! 

Here's to a happy and productive first full week of school,

K/1 Sing Along
We invite K/1 parents, guardians and families to attend our weekly Wednesday Sing-Along, starting September 27th at 8:20AM.  Due to the high attendance, parking sometimes can be tricky so please plan accordingly and only park in appropriate parking spots to ensure we still have access for emergency vehicles if needed.  Coffee will be served from 8-8:15AM in the Ray Cafe to give parents a chance to chat beforehand. 

Play an Instrument!
Last week, 4th and 5th graders signed up for instrumental lessons which start next week during the school day.  If you missed the deadline, it's not too late!  This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn to play an instrument.  No prior experience is needed to try a wind, brass, percussion or string instrument in Grade 5 or a string instrument in Grade 4.  Please contact Mr. Maurer, our Band Director, or Ms. Rommer, our Strings Director, to sign up your child. 
"Curbside" Recycling
We thank our 4th graders for their community service and stewardship of the earth.  Students started their weekly recycling pick ups today, going from room to room, picking up and emptying recycling bins.

School Supplies for Houston Public Schools
Speaking of community mindedness... Thank you for your generous donations of school supplies this week. The PTO will be boxing up and sending off donations to Texas to help schools and families that suffered losses during Hurricane Harvey.  


Experience Our Ray Library Renovations
        The Ray School library has undergone major interior renovations this summer as the centerpiece of its plan to reflect the evolving nature of 21st-century libraries.  We are adapting physical spaces within the library to better serve the needs of users and to encourage lifelong reading and learning.  
Gone are the outdated carpets and empty, underutilized spaces.  Students already are benefiting from comfortable, collaborative study areas and technology workspaces.  Please visit and experience our vibrant new carpets, freshly painted walls, and enhanced lighting to engage readers and encourage interactive learning.  
        One exciting feature of the renovations is the introduction of a new Innovation Lab, including a production space where students will work in video, audio, animation and 3D modeling.  Currently in the planning stages, our Innovation Lab will promote inquiry, experimentation and hands-on learning. For more information about the library’s renovation plans and to keep-up-to-date on progress in our Innovation Lab, contact our Librarian, Ms. Sergeant. 


Computer Lab Requests
The Computer Lab seeks donations of used and well-loved LEGO bricks and LEGO people.  Kindly send them in a ziploc bag or envelope labeled with your child's name. Thank you. 

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Ray School Calendar.  Please visit our Ray School homepage for our complete (constantly updating) calendar. 

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